For the past three years my husband and I have been building a church family in a community where we previously didn’t know any one. The state of Washington might not be considered a foreign missionary land, but it sure feels like it to a homebody like me when you move to a place where you don’t know a soul and are given the seemingly monumental task of starting a church from scratch. People don’t generally go to church in the NW, so you’ve got to be bold and creative in building community.
Finding and building a community is hard, really hard. I get that. Especially for people like me who are happiest as reclusive introverted homebodies. Making the effort to reach out and connect isn’t easy, and sometimes its extremely inconvenient, but as a follower of Christ, it isn’t really an option. God created in us a need for community.
If there is one thing I know about building community, it is that to be successful, you have to have two things: an open door and someone to go through it. An open door is one in which you have provided a safe, comfortable, welcoming environment for someone to enter in to a community where they may not know anyone. Building community is a two way street to be sure, but someone needs to make the first move by creating the open door environment.
This spring our church’s women’s group hosted our first ever community Craft Day in conjunction with the in(RL) event and (in)courage. While we didn’t have a big team or budget, our goal was simply to create a space where women who didn’t previously know each other could feel comfortable enough to sit together at a table, put together a simple craft, eat chocolate and talk.
Our small team of women putting on the event poured out their creativity and love for their community by providing the Craft Day setting with a chocolate fountain, crafting tables with fabric to make flower pins, and tasty food. They opened the door to community by setting a comfortable environment.
The brave women who attended reached out to us in return by walking through the open door and opening their hearts to new friends! Friendship building takes two people willing to make a step. And on Craft Day, we met right in the middle, over our chocolate dipped strawberries and flower pins.
In just a couple of weeks, our church is starting a new MOPS group. We are providing another open door to friendship. We are praying for even more women to take that important brave step by walking through the open door and meeting us in the middle where we can get to know each other!
A local community of friends is SO important, sweet dear ladies, and it can’t be built when we choose to stay home instead of participating. Oh, it is so tempting to stay home sometimes, isn’t it? There have been times I’ve set the stage for community and women were too tired or too busy to meet me in the middle. They didn’t realize the divine opportunity to encourage others by their presence.
I know we are all really busy and have so much going on. But I encourage you to make real community building a priority in your life. Set aside time for it. God designed us to grow and thrive as followers of Christ in community. We need each other more than we might even realize!
Be a door opener or one who walks through the doors. Either way, you’ll be a blessing to someone else and in all likelihood you’ll BE blessed.Leave a Comment